Cabinet approves MoU between India and Oman on Cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space

The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi was apprised of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between India represented by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) and Oman represented by the Ministry of Transport and Communications on Cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space, in February, 2018 at Muscat.

This MoU shall enable the following areas of cooperation such as, space science, technology and applications including remote sensing of the earth; satellite based navigation; Space science and planetary exploration; use of spacecraft and space systems and ground system; and application of space technology.

Space exploration is governed by a complex series of international treaties and agreements which have been in place for years. The first and probably most important of them is the Outer Space Treaty.

The treaty was initially signed by the United States of America, the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union on January 27, 1967 and it came into effect from October 10, 1967. The treaty was initially called ‘Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and other Celestial bodies.

The treaty forbids countries from deploying “nuclear weapons or any other kinds of weapons of mass destruction” in outer space. The term “weapons of mass destruction” is not defined, but it is commonly understood to include nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons. The treaty, however, does not prohibit the launching of ballistic missiles, which could be armed with WMD warheads, through space.

The treaty’s key arms control provisions are in Article IV. States-parties commit not to:

Place in orbit around the Earth or other celestial bodies any nuclear weapons or objects carrying WMD.

Install WMD on celestial bodies or station WMD in outer space in any other manner.

Establish military bases or installations, test “any type of weapons,” or conduct military exercises on the moon and other celestial bodies.

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